Nate Prince's favorite subject in school is physical education, but after his watercolor painting won first place in the Children's Arts Festival, he might change his mind.
Almost 250 drawings and paintings were on display Sunday at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri's Gallery in Cape Girardeau as part of the seventh annual Children's Arts Festival.
"I was happy," Prince said about his first-place award. "I was very surprised, too."
Prince, a fifth-grade student at South Elementary School in Jackson, pointed out his painting to his mother, Jill Watkins, Sunday at the gallery. The painting was a landscape of mountains and a sunset.
"We're very excited," Watkins said. "He does a lot of creative things for fun, and I'm always pushing art around our house in some capacity."
Carol Horst, an art teacher at Jackson's South Elementary, has participated with her students since the festival began seven years ago. Of her 300 students who participated in the festival, 12 of them had their work on display at the arts council gallery.
"This is a great way to get them involved in arts at a young age," Horst said. "They will remember this forever."
Madison and Abigail Boyer, both of Cape Girardeau, signed their names next to their artwork displayed in the festival's program for the gallery's administrative assistant Valaree Rutherford.
"They feel like they just got their first book published -- it makes them feel really special," Rutherford said.
Madison Boyer, who's in third grade at Clippard Elementary, said art is her favorite subject in school. The artwork she created for the festival was a multi-colored tree, "with not much bark on it," she explained.
Several months prior to the Children's Arts Festival, CDs were sent to area classrooms. Teachers played the tracks for students as they created two-dimensional visual art pieces.
Central Middle School fifth-grade student Baylee Swanson said the music influenced a drawing of "mad pumpkins."
Swanson's mother, Amber Brockhorst, was impressed with her daughter's ability. "She's been drawing forever, so we're very proud of her," she said.
Earlier in the afternoon musicians and dancers performed for about 300 people at Academic Hall on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University.
Young dancers at Cape Girardeau's Academy of Dance Art performed excerpts from the "Thirteenth Hour. Central Middle School's Shere Khan, Christmas carolers from Central High School and the Kelly Middle School Honor Choir also performed at the festival.
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